Used to be the Suncheon Drama Set's claim to fame was being used for the SBS drama "Love and Ambition" ("사랑과야망"), but lately it's been seeing much more action. Part of the new blockbuster drama plagiarifically-titled "East of Eden" ("에덴의 동쪽") was shot there this month. It survived. There's a photo gallery here of the modifications made to the set in preparation for the highly-anticipated drama, whicih reportedly cost 25 billion won to produce. Here's another one from February, so apparently they had been filming for quite some time, unbeknownst to me.
I guess they had signs up around town this week, but I must have been sleeping. That one is across the street from Choeun Plaza, at one of the busier intersections in town and one I pass every day.
Interestingly, on the drama's trailer and also on the website one of the taglines is "사랑과 야망, 그리고 복수와 화해의 대서사 드라마!" the first part (사랑과 야망) being the name of the drama for which the Suncheon set is sometimes named. Also, according to the Suncheon city website, recent activity also includes the movie 님은먼곳에, starring the lovely Su-ae as a woman who signs on as a singer and goes to Vietnam to be with her boyfriend. Variety, surprisingly, has a review and summary:
Sun-heui (Su Ae) is a traditional country girl, with a gifted singing voice, who's trapped in an arranged marriage to Park Sang-gil (Eom Tae-woong). Under pressure to produce an heir, she regularly visits Sang-gil at the camp where he's doing military service; only problem is that he's really still in love with a college sweetheart.
When Sang-gil suddenly disappears to Vietnam without even telling her, Sun-heui determines to track him down. Script hardly establishes in its early scenes a convincing enough reason -- apart from sheer filial duty -- for her to persist in what turns into an increasingly hazardous venture, weakening the whole film's emotional substructure.
Sun-heui finds that the only way she can get to Vietnam is as a "consolatory singer" (i.e. troop entertainer), and she ends up in a band run by sleazy con artist Jeong-man (Jeong Jin-yeong), who rechristens her Sunny. With long hair, trashy '70s duds and a buccaneering attitude, Jeong-man livens up what looked initially like a pure melodrama, and Jeong ("Hi, Dharma!," "King and the Clown") confirms his smarts as one of South Korea's most unconventional actors, especially good at comedy.
The band's odyssey from Saigon to the battlefront includes Sunny initially blowing a gig in front of some U.S. grunts but later finding her feet entertaining Korean troops. (American military is portrayed in an unflattering light throughout, unlike the kindly Koreans.) Later reels, involving the Viet Cong and a mad dash by helicopter to find Sang-gil go way beyond the bounds of believability. But then, the whole premise was never that believable in the first place.
Gusts of Popular Feeling should go see that movie so he can tell us more about it and its take on, um, history. What the review doesn't mention is that the characters apparently travel through time in order to bribe officers in 1971 with five-dollar bills from 2001, lol.
According to the set's official site, other recent projects include the horrific-looking 블러디 쉐이크 (Bloody um, . . . ?) which was filmed in July, and 분교이야기. Much to my surprise, Mapado 2 and Once In A Summer (also with Su-ae) were also filmed there. The Suncheon city site is pleaesd with all this activity and plans to play on it to attract more tourists. I can't seem to link directly to the release, so I'll just quote it directly. It's Engrish-y, but take a look anyway:
In May 'The Story of Branch School', in July 'Bloody Shake', and in August 'East of Eden'
In recent day, Sucheon Drama Filmed Location is busy and contributes to the revitalization of local public relations and economy and by the photographing of famous movie and drama.
For the while, 'Love and Ambition' of SBS, 'Summer of the Year', 'Mapado 2', and 'East of Eden' of MBC were attracted, and the movie, 'The Story of Branch School' starred Park, Cheol Min was filmed in May, and also 'Bloody Shake' in July and 'East of Eden' in August will be filmed.
Also the 'King's Man' was filmed in January and is waiting the opening on 24, July that the movie is introduced and Suncheon City's Webpage and sightseeing place are introduced in the Movie Webpage. The movie 'My Lover is in Vietnam War' directed by Lee, Jun Ik was attracted and it contributed to the local economy by using the restaurants and accommodations.
In 2006, Suncheon Drama Set was opened at the land of 3,636㎡ that was the biggest drama set in Korea and could see the phases of the times at a glance, and 420,000 of tourists invited. As the open set, it is attracting the movie interested persons and is leaped into the tourist attractions.
The tourists invited Suncheon give an excellent grade to the fresh impression and spectacular of drama set, and especially, the photographers invites the set continuously.
In this chance of the movie, Suncheon City will reinvigorate the local economy through the development of attractive travel packages connected to Suncheon Bay, and especially, the City have plan of 'Suncheon Familiarization Tour' for drama writers. The City publicizes actively the Suncheon sightseeing places that are the best place of the filmed location such as Suncheon Bay, and Naganeubseong where is traditional folk village as well as Suncheon Drama Set.
Oooooooh, Bloody Shaaaaaake, now I get it! 님은먼곳에 is incorrectly referred to as King's Man, known better as 왕의남자, the very popular 2005 film with Lee Jun-ki. The director of 왕의남자 also did 님은먼공에, so that's probably the cause of the confusion.
I've been to the drama set twice, both in the pouring rain, and have blogged about it in more detail here. The set pretty close to one of my schools, and if you want to stetch your legs you could walk there from Suncheon's New Downtown, but since it's kind of hard to explain how to get there, you might as well take a cab or bus 777 and walk back. It's a neat way to spend an hour or two, so I recommend it to fellow Suncheonites. Except to those pricks who ignore me when I be neighborly and say hi at the bus stop or grocery store. Stay miserable.